Trance

Hassan Hakmoun

Released 31 August 1993

  1. Bania
  2. Only One God (Maaboud Allah)
  3. Soudan Minitara (Bumbastic Mix)
  4. Challaban
  5. Soutanbi
  6. Soulalahoalih
  7. Alal Wahya Alal (Trance Mix)
  8. The Sun Is Gone
  9. Soudan Minitara

Liner notes

Hassan Hakmoun and his band take an ancient Moroccan musical tradition and celebrate it with an up- front vitality that is entirely contemporary.

The songs here are part of the story of a music which spread from West Africa, the Sudan and the Southern Sahara through centuries of migration until it reached Morocco, where it fused into the power of the master musicians of the Gnawa, a word which refers to both the music and those who play it.

The gift of the Gnawa contains shamanic powers which can heal, dispel evil, and mediate in the spirit world. Through the Gnawa’a intervention the spirit of the ancestors can return to guild, advise and give strength to the living.

Hassan’s music is rooted in his playing of the sintir, the Moroccan three- stringed bass,  and many of his songs have the Gmawa’s timeless, nomadic quality. They start with slow, passionate invocations of love, unity, and inner strength, along with cries of desire, joy and anguish. As the groove takes hold, the song’s spirit comes spiralling out oa fever-pitch, mediated by Anthony Michael Peterson’s sheets of harmelodic guitar textures and bold thrash- like strokes, and underpinned by the drum and percussion alliance of Bill McClellan and Kweyao Agyapon.

This music transports me back to the WOMAD festival of summer 1992, where the group quickly created a spellbinding psychedelic dance trance. Inspired by Hassan’s five-foot- high leaps and crazed Moroccan jazz steps, a bunch of small kids was soon mounting their own stage invasion.

For the most part, this album was recorded live at the 1992 Real World Recording Week. The band had a collective strength, musical coherence and heartfelt energy that enabled us to record and mix one and a half hours of music in four days.

The remix of Soudan Minitara was also coneived then, and later realized by soul brothers Ron Aslan and Jules Brooks of Raw Stylus. The remix takes the music of my own neighbourhood of East London – raga and bogle reggae- and places it under a broad North African sky This is world music of the 90s: a collision of New York free- style jazz and a massive London drum and bass axis, realized on ancient lines of African ancestral magic in the Wessex countryside, the heartland of the Western mystic tradition.

Special thanks to all the musicians who came, collaborated and helped to build the vibe, and to the guv’nor.

SIMMON EMMERSON, HACKNEY 1993

Listen

Reviews

  • There are some nicely crazed moments alongside the more contemplative numbers. The Observer (UK)
  • This is spiritual, spiky and uncompromisingly modern music with organic roots. Vox (UK)
  • Black Moroccan Gnawa funk rock Rolling Stone (UK)

Further Listening

  • One and One is One

    Joi

    Released 12 April 1999

    The debut album by one of the key acts of the Asian Underground movement of the 90s is an aspirational melting pot of melodic harmonies, tabla rhythms, electro beats, chants, and vocal snatches.
  • Jam Nation

    Various Artists

    Released 13 September 1993

    In August 1992, Peter Gabriel asked the production team of Mark Rutherford and John Gosling to create an album in seven days with a diverse array of international musicians and producers. While they steered each piece of music toward a coherent form, the unique input of the musicians gives a fresh spirit to every track.

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